|Interviewed By: Supremus | Remus Chang|
Translator: Yuko Takahashi
Location: Quarter Mile Performance Parts Sunway
‘(00): So how did Auto Select started?
My passion has always been cars, I have been known to do my own repairs and engine modification. For years I have been doing it for friends, they would come to me to have their car tuned for higher horsepower and higher boost. I started off modifying carburetor engines during the early 80’s and I moved on to fuel injections in the mid 80’s. Soon my work became known amongst the carboys in Osaka and the demand for my work grew tremendously. I founded auto Select sometime in the 80’s to provide my services to the public. In 1985, Auto Select was featured in CarBoy Magazine (during the 80’s it was the trendsetting car tuning magazine in Japan) and the demand for our services skyrocketed.
Video: One of Auto Select's Projects. The Auto Select R34 Skyline GT-R
Why the name Auto Select?
(Laughs…)I got the name from Mild Seven (cigarette) actually. I used to smoke Mild Seven Select. One of the rare flavors offered back in the 80’s. I like the name Select… so I used it.
What makes you different from other tuners?
I always try keep up with the current tuning trend. I try out new things all the time, and we conduct a lot of R&D on our demo cars.
My objective is to make modify the most economic way. Not many people could afford it, so I want to make it affordable for everyone.
We know you have been to Malaysia many times, what’s your purpose here in Malaysia this time?
Quarter Mile Performance Parts has brought me here a few times. My trip to Malaysia has always been very busy, I’m here to tune some of Quarter Mile’s customers’ cars. My first time here was actually to build a GTR32 from scratch for a drag race, not many people know this because it has been kept very low profile.
What do you think of the tuning scene in Malaysia?
Unlike Japan, performance parts here are very limited therefore tuning could be very challenging. We will have to adapt to the situation here and tune according to the setup of the cars, I guest it is more challenging compared to Japan.
What’s the highest horsepower you have ever achieved in your years of tuning?
For a street driven cars, the highest was about 1000 horses that I did for a customer’s Supra. Horsepower is not that important to me. Having high horsepower is useless if you do not have midrange power.
What’s the fastest you have driven in a street tuned car?
The fastest was about 330 km/h.
Have you been busted by cops for speeding?
I’m a Gold License holder; I have never been booked nor arrested before, in fact I have never been busted for committing any traffic offence. I’m a very courteous driver.(You will be awarded a gold license if you have not committed any traffic offenses for 5 years consecutively)
We heard and read a lot about Wangan Highway from Magazines and DVDs, So what’s Wangan Highway actually like?
Wangan Highway begins in Kobe and ends at Kansai Airport. It is very long highway built high above sea level with nice sea view on its side. Tthe drive in the day is very scenic and memorable. However, when nigh falls Wangan turns into a playground for carboys and a testing ground for tuners. Serious high-speed pursuit of above 300 km/h is a norm.
Do you go to Wangan often?
Yes of course, is like my ‘Main Course’. I often test my cars there; I have many video of me racing and testing my cars at Wangan. You can download them from my site
Have you ever crashed before?
Never! I guess I’m very lucky.
How many cars do you own?
I own a few Skyline GTRs (32,33&34), for many years I have been experimenting them in street and track testing and R&D purposes. I’m now planning to get a Subaru Imprezza. I think there is a lot of potential in them. Since a lot of Quarter Mile’s customers own them, I will use the Imprezza to get the best tuning data so that I could bring the data over to Malaysia for the benefit of them.
Drifting is currently the hottest thing in motor sports. Do you have plans to setup a drift machine to compete in the D1 Grand Prix?
I don’t think I will get involved in D1 at this moment. I don’ have the time and commitment as I’m too busy. However, we do have lots of clients that bring their drift machines to us for setup and tunings.
Tell us about your Yellow Shark GTR demo cars.
Those are our R&D machines, although it is not a street legal machine but it is fitted with stock gearboxes, the setup is very much similar to a daily driven street machine. The Yellow Sharks are used to test all our prototypes.
Have you driven in Sepang International Circuit?
I have never been to Sepang Circuit, however I really look forward to it if I have the time. Whenever I’m in Malaysia, I’m always busy tuning and working I hardly have time for anything else. I hope Quarter Mile could loan me one of their machines when I’m in Sepang Circuit
Do you have plans to open up an Auto Select Branch here in Malaysia?
Not at the moment. Currently I’m very happy working with Quarter Mile as my partner. I get to contribute my experience and tuning skills through them.
Any advice on what’s the first and foremost thing a newbie should do to their machine?
A good braking system, good tires and suspension is primary. Once that done then only proceed to performance parts such as bigger turbos & ECUs. Practicality and Safety is important! Dressing-up the car with aero kits is the last you should do. I always believe the look of the car should always match the speed.
I noticed that the suspension setting in most Malaysian cars are too hard, it should not be too hard. In choosing a suspension, you must choose one that is suitable for the road condition.
What’s Osaka like from a tuner’s point of view? Tell us more…
In comparison to Tokyo, the highways in Osaka are more technical, a lot more challenging. There are a lot more turns than straights.
In Tokyo you could achieve more than 330 km/h on a highway but in Osaka you could only do about 300km/h
What do you think of Malaysian girls?
They are beautiful but it is difficult for me to communicate with them since I speak very little English. I met many pretty girls when I went to Zouk, but I could hardly speak their language. I want a Malaysian Girlfriend (laughs…)
Auto Select Japan
516-1 Oaza-Hiejima Kodoma-shi
Osaka 571-0037, Japan
Founder & Tuner: Eiichiro Sawa
Location: Quarter Mile Performance Parts Sunway